The Angels of HARP: Preserving, Researching and Restoring Aviation History
Volunteers with the Historic Aircraft Restoration Project (HARP) come to Hangar B at Gateway National Recreation Area's Floyd Bennett Field on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays to preserve historic aircraft and interpret them for the public.
Marisol Soto, Gateway's Volunteer Resource Coordinator, says that the volunteers should "all have harps because the members of HARP are the angels of our volunteer program. They selflessly dedicate hundreds of hours of their time each year to taking care of this collection of airplanes and talk with the public about aviation history."
HARP works within the National Park Service Volunteers-in-Parks (VIP) program and is entrusted with three goals. The group researches, restores and helps preserve part of our nation's rich aviation heritage.
Visitors to Hangar B can see these dedicated VIPs working on the park's collection of historic aircraft. What makes a visit unique is that visitors can see, hear, and feel what it is like to be in a working airplane hangar. It's easy to go back in time and imagine what a visit to Hangar B in 1945 or 1965 would have been like.
Many of the volunteers come to the project with decades of experience working on planes, either in the military, or in the civil sector, or both. Volunteers in the program range from youth in high school to the "young at heart" and in their 70s and 80s.
The goal is to return these aircraft to nearly original condition. HARP volunteers are even building a full scale model of Wiley Post's Lockheed Vega, the "Winnie Mae," from scratch! The volunteers and park rangers are available to lead tours of the hangar and planes, and are more than happy to answer any questions.
Did You Know?
Fort Wadsworth, located on Staten Island at the Narrows (next to the Verrazano Bridge), is one of the oldest military sites in the nation. This site has controlled the entrance to New York Harbor since the Washington administration.